The Invisible or Utility Bicyclist: An Ignored Population

Tonight as I was out dutifully putting in some miles to finish up my yearly goal, I encountered a man stopped in East Austin, near downtown.  He was working on his bicycle, and observing the unwritten code of bike riders, I stopped to ask if I might help. He had a screw driver and was adjusting his rear reflector while enjoying an adult beverage.  He was also worried about his front light, which was red (illegal).  There wasn’t much I could do, but we chatted a bit.  He was friendly, perhaps due to the aforementioned drink.  He introduced himself as Tommy, I replied with my name, and he proferred an ungloved hand for me to shake in the cool temperatures.  He also said that he is homeless.  It got me thinking about the large number of people who ride bikes as transportation, but are not connected with bicycle advocacy organizations.  So here are a few thoughts. Continue reading

News Flash: People of Color and Women Ride Bicycles, Too, Dammit!

Bikes Are Colorblind, They Just Want to Be Ridden

It’s Black History Month in the United States of America, so it would be bad form for a progressive to not pay homage to that (which I did earlier when mentioning the impact of the Black Panther movie) Some people have the mistaken belief that only rich white men in Spandex ride bicycles. They are wrong.

Where I live, I frequently see people of color riding bicycles, usually at night, apparently commuting home from work. They usually don’t have lights or helmets or fancy bikes. But they are cyclists just the same, risking their lives to go about their lives, which includes transporting themselves with their own people power. Leonel Hernandez, who died last month, was one of them.

Today, within the space of 10 minutes, I met a black dude named Ivory and a couple from Thailand named Nukul and Rung, each on a bike. You really meet the coolest people on bikes — of whatever color, status or nationality. You never would probably barely even see them from your motorized steel pollution cage.

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